Friday, January 16, 2009

4 Lunches, 2 Days and Spilt Milk

This week has been quite busy. The kind of week that wreaks the same havoc on my workload as a vacation week. You know the drill- out of the office (either on the beach or in constant off-site meetings morning till night) and knowing there’s an ever growing inbox, snail mail stack, unreturned phone calls and ignored to-do list.

It’s been so crazy trying to fit various meetings in, several of them with out-of-town contacts, that I’ve had to schedule two days with two lunches. On Tuesday it was an 11:30AM lunch at P.F. Changs in Cool Springs (Chicken chopped salad) and then a 1:00PM at Franklin Mercantile (chicken noodle soup). Yesterday it was an 11:30AM lunch at Bricktops in downtown Nashville (Chicken chowder soup) and a 1:00PM at J. Alexander’s in Cool Springs (Thai Kai Salad). I probably put 500 miles on the Suburban this week. The only good thing about that was when I filled it up with gas yesterday it only cost $49 versus the $150 it would have cost just a few months ago.

A funny thing happened while at the lunch meeting yesterday in J. Alexander’s. While waiting for my out-of-town lunch guest I ran into a couple of folks I know. Friend1 (which coincidentally had been one of my lunch meetings on Tuesday), and his father, Friend2. They introduced me to Acquaintance1 (the sister of Friend1 and daughter of Friend2) and her husband, Acquaintance2 (the brother-in-law of Friend1 and son-in-law of Friend2). We chatted for a few minutes and I mentioned I was waiting to meet with a guy named Darren that I had never met face-to-face before. I joked about having to do the whole “Hi, are you Darren?” routine with each guy that walked in the restaurant. They were escorted to their table and I continued to wait.

Darren showed up a few minutes later and after a minute or two of small talk the buzzer in my pocket went off and we were taken to our table. Of course it was right next to the Friend1 and 2’s table. Friend2 saw me and said to my lunch meeting “Hi! You must be Darren.”

Darren was stunned to have been recognized in a strange town by someone he had never met, and was completely confused about what was going on. We sat down and I explained.

As we chatted business through lunch I happened to glance to my left just as Acquaintance2 (the husband/brother-in-law/son-in-law) knocked a full cup of half-and-half off his table. You know those little metal miniature jugs that get filled to the brim with creamer? Seems they had finished with lunch and it was coffee time. The creamer thingy hit the carpeted floor with a soft thud and creamer shot out of it like a stick of dynamite in a shallow pond. Creamer ALL over Friend2’s leg and shoes (the father/father-in-law). No on at the table noticed except of course for Acquaintance2. He looked down at the huge mess all over the floor and his father-in-law and a horrified look came over his face. He looked around his table to see if anyone noticed and no one did. He straightened up and resumed drinking coffee and glanced my way. He saw me looking at him, and the mess, and his eyes went wide. He was caught. But did nothing.

A few minutes went by (while the creamer soaked into Friend2’s pants and shoes and the floor) and the waiter for their table appeared. He gave them the check and then noticed the spilled creamer. He pointed it out and the table was surprised. Acquaintance2 said nothing. Friend2 wondered if maybe he had knocked it off himself, or a passing server had. The mess was cleaned up with no one the wiser but me.